The Italian rookie showed incredible wet weather prowess in Barcelona to take second place in a historic Ducati 1-2-3 finish
Race 1 at the Hyundai N Catalunya Round is one that will live long in the memory for Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) as he secured his first ever podium in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, finishing in second place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in wet conditions as he battled with the Championship’s top three throughout the 20-lap encounter.
Bassani started from 11th in Race 1 after this morning’s Tissot Superpole Race in dry conditions in Catalunya but started the second lap of the race in third place after an incredible start, immediately on the tail of then-Championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK). The pair battled it out, initially allowing Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) to pull away but the gap started to come down, both able to pass Rea by Lap 13.
When Razgatlioglu retired from the race with a technical issue on Lap 15, Bassani inherited the lead of the race and stayed there until Lap 17 before he was overtaken by factory Ducati rider Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), although the 22-year-old did manage to keep enough of a gap to Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) to claim second place.
It meant Bassani became the 15th-youngest podium finisher in WorldSBK history and also the 70th rider to stand on the podium in their rookie campaign, as well as claiming his best result in either WorldSBK or WorldSSP with second place – his previous best had been fourth in WorldSSP at Magny-Cours in 2016.
Looking back on his first WorldSBK podium, Bassani said: “For me, it’s important, it’s necessary to go up. It was a very difficult first lap with Toprak because every corner we were overtaking each other. For me, it’s a good thing. I’m happy. I don’t have a lot of words but I’m happy! On the last lap, I started to cry. It was a fantastic lap. Michael was behind me and started to close the gap. It was an emotional lap. After the finish line, I started to enjoy it!”
“I feel like Superman now! I tried to finish first, but Scott had very good pace over the last two or three laps. Usually I am faster when there’s a lot of rain. Today it was a medium situation. I started and felt very good with the bike. I tried to stay with Jonny but keep a little gap. Lap by lap, me and Toprak closed it. It was a very long race because the last 5 or 6 laps, I didn’t have rear grip. It was very difficult to stay on the track. I was really focused on arriving at the finish line because it was an important result for me, my team and my family.”
Watch Bassani in action again in Barcelona on Sunday using the WorldSBK VideoPass!